Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sweetest Words

Merry Christmas!! and Happy Birthday Sol!!!

Our students took Christmas to 50 orphan kids, and two days later Sol got 20 of her closest friends together to celebrate her first "spiritual" birthday if I can call it that. AKA her baptism.

Games, food, presents, and Jesus make for a great night no matter who you are with, but when its for poeple who would not have experienced any of that during the holidays, it makes it so much better.

This year was harder than last year. There were more kids which meant more of everything had to happen to pull it off. Last year our students were great about taking the kids letters, getting presents and bringing them on time. This year lets say we had a 85% success rate. All the letters got taken by students but not all the presents got brought. Sooo, what did we do? After being upset with peoples irresponsibility for about 30 seconds, I got some students together and we went shopping for the presents that were lacking. It was fun and tiring, and in the end the smiles on the kids faces showing off their new stuff made it all worth it.
Another highlight from this year was being able to completely pass off the actual party we had with the kids to our students. It was great to see our students step up, take charge, play with the kids, and for all the staff to get to sit back and watch our students be leaders.

Andrea leading everyone in song and dance

big and small enjoying it all

passing out stockings some of our students made


they loved them
Happy Birthday Sol!!!

If you haven't checked out the last blog, check it out because I wrote about Sol and her decision to get baptized. So we had it planned for 7pm on Sunday night. I was at my house with Kami and Hector watching the Falcons game all afternoon, so we hadn't had time to get a cake for after the baptism. Well it was getting kinda late 6:30, 6:40...but the game was so close we didn't want to leave. Good thing for us we live in Mexico and being on time is not really a priority...we decided after the game Kami would go for the cake, me and Hector would go to the campus house and stall if need be till Kami made it back. Well, Kami made it back with the cake before half the other people arrived so no worries there...the baptism would go on as planned.
So Nate gave some words on baptism and Sol, then I said some stuff about Sol (actually made her cry...u know in a good way) then some scripture, a prayer and her confession of faith before the actual baptism. Some of the sweetest words I have heard all semester was when Sol said "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Saying some words about Sol

Prayer by Lulis who was baptized in October

Sol's confession of faith

Right here I actually forgot what I say before dunking her...we had a good laugh
I remembered after some help from team members haha

I got the first hug

Then there were hugs for everyone
 So another thing I thought was really cool was the fact that there were both professing believers and professing atheist there at the baptism to support Sol. Knowing them all and their stories makes me smile and love what I do. Knowing that Sol was where they are spiritually speaking less than a year ago gives me hope and encourages me to keep on praying and keep on loving and keep on chasing after God every day.

Jesus makes life worth living. I will be in the Atlanta area Dec. 12-28 if you want to get together just send me an email and we will make it happen. Love you all. Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last weeks

Christmas is in the air... I know you must think I am crazy or jumping the gun a little bit, but when you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving and work in a ministry that gets done with classes and goes on vacation the first weeks in December, you are allowed to get started early with somethings. Actually, Kami and I have had our Christmas tree up since sometime in mid-September. I admit that might be pushing it, but we enjoy it.

isn't it beautiful

Tonight is our last En Vivo of the semester. We are going to tell the Christmas story, sing Christmas songs and even give each of the students a little present from El Pozo. The campus house is decorated and with Christmas music playing through the speakers, we are getting in the spirit.

So I said I live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving...well that is mostly true. It is not an official holiday or anything like that but for like 200ish poeple there will be a Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday afternoon. The plan is to turn our front lawn into a huge family dining room by eating all together picnic style on blankets.

yard today, family dining room on Thursday

We don't currently have enough tables and chairs to sit everyone and in our area out back we are getting windows put in so it is unusable for the next week. We will continue with last years tradition of having all the students make turkey hands, write what they are thankful for, and then place them on a tree painted on the wall in hopes of filling the now bare tree with leaves. How they get from being turkey hands to leaves is a whole other story.

leafless today, full onThursday

Also this year we have invited all the kids from the kids home to celebrate with us. They are 55 people there. I am hoping that our students will integrate with them and get a passion to reach out to them more throughout the year.

Speaking of the kids home, last week we started passing out letters each of the kids wrote for Christmas. We still have 6 to get sponsored, but I am sure they will get taken tonight. Next Friday the 3rd we will go to the kid's home, have a party with them and give them their presents. Last year it was such a blessing for everyone involved, hoping it will be even bigger this year.

This is the last week of classes for the students, followed by finals. Even though we finish with regular weekly events does not mean we are checking out for the semester. We still have our last Lunada (once a month praise and worship time) and pancakes at 8pm all next week during finals. Then the kid's party on Friday followed by SOL GETTING BAPTIZED on Sunday.

Me, Rebeca, and Sol

Many of you met Sol this past summer when she came to visit with Rebeca and others have heard me talk about her frequently. Sol is a very very talented girl. She loves sports and is super smart. I met her playing flag football many years ago when she just entering college. I actually have a picture on my desk of the first time she came to an El Pozo event back in Fall 2007. She would frequent the house occasionally, I think mostly for the food, but last Fall she began to show up more frequently and not just for the the food. In October of last year I was going to start a bible study with another friend of hers, Laura, so I asked Sol if she wanted to be a part of it. Lets just say she wasn't quite ready, so we just kept praying. Then in January, I asked her again and she was ready. All last semester we (Laura, Sol and I) studied John together, then this semester while Laura was in Europe, Sol and I continued our weekly bible studies reading Acts. A few weeks ago we finished Acts and moved on to Galatians to finish out the semester. In January, Sol shared that her two memories or big experiences with the bible before coming to El Pozo consisted of going to mass every Sunday as a child on an empty stomach so she was thinking of food more than God and then later having to write out the entire bible in syllables for one of her grammar classes. Needless to say, she didn't read the bible much after that. Soooo, she started reading and learning and last week decided she wants to be baptized on Sunday December 5th. I can't think of a better way to end the semester and start the Christmas holidays. Pray for Sol as she continues to study, grow and live out all the stuff she is believing.

More to come after these next two weeks play out. Love you all. Thanks for giving.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This is a long but good one

There is nothing like a weekend full of making memories and great friends to do it with.

On Saturday we had a great time with 16 kids from the orphanage we work with at the American football game at the university. We got there early to get good seats, ate some food, watched our team win another game, then got pictures with some of my friends that are players and coaches. Several of the kids were scared of the big football players but slowly made their way towards them to get their picture. Some of the kids (actually most of them) had enough of the sun and returned to the campus house to play during the second half.

Friend Maqui (player on the left) with some of the kids

friend Chris with the kids

Coach Hector with all of us that made it through the whole game

We are planning another outing with the kids to bowling next Saturday. Then two weeks after that they will come the the campus house to celebrate Thanksgiving with our community. They are great kids and each time we pass time with them, ministry opportunities are created (both for them and our students).

After a great Saturday, we had no choice but to follow it up with a great Sunday. (if you haven't noticed, this actually happened 2 weekends ago...started the blog but got a little distracted) Sunday at 8 am I headed to the campus house to pay for the two 15 passenger vans we rented to go to the beach for the 3 baptisms. At 9am the students started arriving and by the time we left at 10am there were 43 of us packed into cars and vans.

Pibe, Erika, and Raul in the van

Me driving on of the 15 passengers
We got stuck behind some federal police that were guarding the boat of the president. They were going sooo slow and would not let us pass for anything. We were able to take pictures like the one above because we were going so slow.

I don't know if you can tell but there are 3 or 4 federal police trucks, plus all the boat stuff and police cars as well.

Once we finally got to the beach. We unloaded, read some scripture, talked about each girl a bit and then baptized them. Sara went first, then Nala, and then Lulis. We also took some time to just hang out on the beach.

most but not all of us group picture

me and becky chillin on the beach

this is pablo...he just wanted to make it into the blog so i promised him a picture so he wouldn't get jealous of all his friends that were originally going to make it..haha

Nate reading scripture

Kami taking Sara to be baptized

That's joy
Sara has been a part of the community for maybe a year and a half. Her smile lights up any room. She is full of life, intense and has so much love to give.

Amanda and Clay baptized Nala

big family hug
Nala is another girl that always has a smile for you. She started coming around three and a half years ago with a heart of stone in many ways. She had been hurt by everyone in her life, had pretty much given up the thought that there are good poeple in the world, and was mad at God. 3 1/2 years later, after being showed love time after time here at El Pozo, she finally gave in to God. I can't tell you the joy it brings to all of us to see her today compared to when we first met her. We are talking about stories tomorrow in En Vivo and she is going to share part of her story with the community. She sent me her talk and at the end she says today she knows she is a beautiful daughter of God, created not to live life stuck to the wall, like a wallflower, but to DANCE. wow.

Lulis being baptized by Kami and Erin

Lulis has been around off and on since she got to UDLA, but now as she is getting into her final semesters she has really found her place here in the ministry. Some days she gets here not long after I do and is still here when I head home. Deciding to get baptized has upset her mom who is catholic. She has had to deal with many of the family issues that has come from her going against her parents as well as reoccurring health issues. Lulis has Epilepsy which has made life challenging at times. For the past few months, her medicines have been able to control it, but the week before the baptisms she had several really bad episodes. Also last night we were having a birthday dinner for her when she had another seizure, which normally shouldn't occur. Pray for Lulis to be able to push through the rough days and not to let Satan use these health issues to get her down.

This is what life is all about. Bringing light into the darkness. Thank you for being a part of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Week In Ministry

Hellooooo again!

Time for another ministry update. We have some exciting things going on this week.

Today we get started with a Girl's Beauty Night. There will be massages, pedicures, manicures, a talk about inner beauty, and several other things planned for the night. We have a ton of girls in the ministry so it is sure to be a great night.

this is a really great group of girls (Erika, Aline, Ixchel, Maria)

Tomorrow is the normal devotional lunch. We are going to take a break from our weekly trivia and bring back one of our games from last semester just to keep things mixed up a bit. We had a student leader give the talk for the first time this semester last week and a few more on the schedule to finish out the semester.

Josh, Pibe, Raul, Beto, Pablo, Rosa at devotional lunch (aka Pozomida)

On Saturday there is another home football game here at the university. The team is doing extremely well. I have several friends that are players and others who are coaches so I really enjoy going to the games to support them all. This Saturday we are going to take some of the kids from the orphanage we work with to the game. Last semester we taught them to play flag football and since many of them really enjoyed it, we decided to invite them to one of the football games. We are hoping this will be a good time for our students to go deeper with these kids and really start some relationships that will be beneficial to both the kids and our students.
Chris plays defensive line and all the girls love him
Sol (student in the ministry) with Fisher and Hector (two of my favorite coaches)

Sunday we are going to baptize at least 3 students, maybe more, and we are going to to do it at the BEACH. We are really excited about the students who have made this decision (check next week for pics and stories). They each have a very unique story on how they got to this point. God has been working on them for some time now and it is such an honor for us to get to be a part of it all. We are renting a van, using our cars, gonna pile everyone in who wants to go, drive a few hours, get out, baptize the girls, hang out and have a picnic on the beach, go to Dairy Queen, then head back to Puebla. Pray for these 3 amazing girls that will be getting baptized and for those who are on the edge, for all the students who will be going, safe travels and for the excitement and decision of these girls to be contagious in the ministry.

In other news of upcoming events, we will be having our monthly worship time Monday night and in a few weeks I will be giving the talk at En Vivo, our Tuesday night main event. On Tuesdays remember we are going through the bible in its sections. We have almost made it through the whole bible. We just have another talk on the Letters and Revelations. Since our two main speakers will be out of town the week of Revelations, I get the honor of giving that talk. Pray for me as I prepare and get pumped up to give another talk. And while you are praying, don't forget to mention all the people mentioned in the blog.

Thanks for all your love and support. Peace out. Love you all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Reason 15: Realistic

I love my dad because he is realistic and a dreamer like me needs someone like that to keep themselves in check. My dad has always been the one that has given me the reality checks when I needed them. From times when I was younger and not making the smartest choices to the times when I dream and maybe don't think everything through before wanting to get started.
I can't honestly say I always agreed with what he told me or liked it even if I agreed, but I appreciate it. The fact that he loves me enough to care about my choices and help me the way he knows how is priceless.
My dad might not seem like a dreamer just because his attention to details and realism comes out more, but he is. Just look at what he has done over the last 5 years.
His dad used to tell him that he would see it when he believed it. I know he thought about that a lot over the years, but he also thought about all the details that needed to happen to make things become realities. Sometimes I just like to think that if I believe it will happen it will (and in a sense I think that is true), but he is good to remind me of the realities that have to happen to make dreams come true. He doesn't ever do it to discourage me or anything like that.  
It's just that he is wise, lived through lots, learned from it all and now wants to pass it all on to me and I love him for it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Reason 14: Took us Fishing

Hey there again. It has been a while since the last post, not because of a shortage of reasons I love my dad, just a shortage of time. Actually I think we all have enough time to do what we need/want, just sometimes we let certain things take priority over others. And today it dawned on me that I hadn't really thought about the posts recently. So here we are once again. Reason 14 I love my dad...he took us fishing and taught us to bait a hook.
I have many many memories of fishing with my dad. He was patient with us, always untangling or getting us unstuck from trees or the bottom of the lake. He taught us how to unhook the fish and hold it so we wouldn't get pricked by the scales. You would be amazed at how many people don't know how to do the basics of fishing. Last year I went fishing with some friends here in Puebla and I was the one baiting the lines for them all.

One memory that sticks out is once when we went fishing when we lived in Texas and somehow I ended up catching a really big catfish. Everyone was really excited and we took some pictures that I am sure still exist somewhere but not here.

I don't think I ever fully got into fishing. I like to do it from time to time and not for hours on end, but I am thankful for all the times my dad took me fishing and taught me the basics.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

La Malinche

Fall Retreat to the Mountains

Two weekends ago we went on our annual fall retreat to "La Malinche", a mountain that is nearby. Usually the fall retreat has less poeple on it, so we were really excited when our final number was over 50. We had a great time and built many new relationships throughout the weekend.

We all met at the campus house at 5pm to drive the hour and a half up the mountain to our cabins we had rented.

But, we had a little delay because the bus didn't arrive for another hour.

Calling the bus driver
Finally, the bus arrived, we loaded up and headed out.

Pam and Nala

Tristan and Bernardo (friends that are always together)
Friday night after arriving at our cabins, we unloaded everything and then hung out till 2 or 3 in the morning.

Also we had band practice to get ready for morning worship

Andrea y Pablo
In the morning we had worship then a time of teaching from our speaker, Tom. He talked about relationships, being rejected, forgiving others, not judging, breaking the cycle of bad relationships and such like that.

Then we divided all the students into teams and sent them on a race. They had to find 5 different stations and complete the tasks at each one. During the race they got points for different things that later would determine the winner. The first one was to make the longest chain with only the stuff they had on them.

The next one was making a dance or choreography to be performed later in front of the whole group. Some were really good...and some were really bad.

Lady Gaga made an appearance

this group had lots of energy

this one was really bad

this one was really good
The next station was picking 5 ingredients, blending them all up, then drinking a glassful. Mexicans don't find this quite as funny as most Americans do.


Lulis drank it faster than anyone
The forth station was making a car that one member of the team could fit inside of to later be pulled or pushed in a series of races. Each team only had a certain amount of material to use.

the didn't even make it halfway

the guys on the left won everything

some were not made as well as others

Beto, Ixchel, and Robert pulling Sara with Bego bringing up the rear

The final station was to go a find a list of 10 things, bring them back and then find the finish line.

this was the first team done, however they did not win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place
Later that night we had another time of worship with another talk followed by a campfire that lasted until the early hours of the morning like the night before.

the dog stayed by our fire all night

singing by the fire

well actually we had to move away from the fire because a marshmallow fight broke out

this was around 2 am. we moved inside where it was warmer
Sunday morning was a final time of worship with another talk from Tom. Then some of us packed up and left, while others stayed to hike up the mountain.

a few of us before getting on the bus to leave

The weekend was a huge success. Many deep and meaningful conversations were shared over the weekend and continue to be shared. Those who went on the retreat were challenged and impacted in many different ways. 
Below some of the pictures I put the names of the students who are in them. When you pray for El Pozo, think of them, pray for them by name, and for all the students who are searching, struggling, fighting, learning, and through it all seeing God.